In 36 hours, I begin my first 100 mile race, in Zion, Utah. The furthest I have run is 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, and I have no idea what to expect when I ask my body to carry me through the desert for a full day or more. Half a dozen of my teammates, all of whom have finished 100 milers, have described their experiences, and given me their advice and encouragement. But I cannot picture it myself; I cannot run through that distance in my mind, extrapolate from the shorter distances I have run, and imagine what it will be like to cover that distance. Somehow it just does not make sense.
My plan is simple. I will run and walk at the most comfortable pace possible, and will not allow myself to strain or worry about the time. I will not chase the other runners. Instead, I plan to shut out everyone and everything, as best I can, and focus on my body and the desert. I'm looking forward to the peace and privacy. No one to rely on, no one to please, and no one to blame.
Anything could happen on Friday. My heart may not cooperate, I might not have had enough training or I may discover that my body simply isn't capable of running 100 miles. Or I might finish under 24 hours. But whatever happens, it will be my own experience and I will own it.